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Usher And Red Death

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Run From Death and You'll End Up Finding It

Edgar Allen Poe is famous for his gothic stories and poetries. In The Fall of the House of Usher, the narrator visits his old childhood friend, Roderick Usher. The Usher family is a noble family that is well known for their incestual behavior, which leads to multiple deformations for their offspring. The only living heirs of the Usher family are the twins, Roderick and Madeline Usher, forever chained to the decrepit house they live in with no chance of escape. In The Masque of the Red Death, a plague is reeking havoc upon the country and Prince Prospero can only do one thing: lock himself and his noble subjects in the abbey to party and not worry about death. In both of the short stories, the characters are stationed inside their house, trying to forget all miseries, but death still occupies the back of their minds. The characters within the short stories are trying to prevent death by running away, but they end up rounding the corner to meet up with Death again.

In The Fall of the House of Usher, the noble Roderick and Madeline Ushers are the remaining children of the family line. Since they have been keeping their bloodline pure, they have developed some unusual traits that prevent them from leaving their decaying house. As Madeline lives with a life-threatening disease that will soon take her life one day, Roderick refuses to see his twin sister die in that painful manner. So Roderick entombs his "dead" sister's body within the vault, hoping to see the end of his sister's suffering. Roderick wants the Usher line to end with him, but he can only accomplish that when one of the children dies. He has the option of killing himself and taking the family line with him, but he chooses to kill his sister instead. Roderick has therefore, thwarted the Grim Reaper's plan on him. Death prevention is also similar in The Masque of the Red Death. While the people are continuously dying outside the castle from the Red Death, Prince Prospero locks himself and his royal subjects in the abbey, so they will not perish. In both of these stories, the characters are trying to prevent one thing from happening to them: death. In order to prevent Madeline's death from her disease, Roderick entombs her. And in order to prevent Prince Prospero from perishing at a young age, he locks most of his loyal subjects and himself in the abbey.

Days are passing by after Roderick Usher entombs his sister in the vault, but Roderick's moods are slowly changing from grief to extreme terror. As the narrator tries to remove all thoughts of death and ghastly phenomenon from the bewildered Roderick by reading the "Mad Trist," they hear similar sound effects that echo the story. The extremely nervous Roderick now bursts out screaming that he "'heard it. Long-long-long-many minutes, many hours, many days'"(p20). The sounds he hears from beneath the house that emits from his own sister clawing out of the tomb, are constant reminders to him that she was still alive. He dreads the day when Madeline successfully escapes from the vault and comes for him, and when she does come back to get him, that is a sign that Roderick will die. When both Roderick and the narrator see Madeline in her bloodied white robes at their doorway, it is a sign that Death is knocking at your door. But for this story, Death barges through the door and comes for



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